Media Matters: Progressive Leaders, Media Speak Out Against Matthews

January 17, 2008
12:23 PM

CONTACT: Media Matters
Karl Frisch (202) 756-4103

Progressive Leaders, Media Speak Out Against Matthews
Hardball host's history of degrading commentary target for criticism

WASHINGTON, DC - January 17 - As the media and news consumers alike take a more critical look at MSNBC's marquee talent and Hardball host Chris Matthews, progressive leaders, prominent bloggers, and other members of the media are all speaking out against Matthews' journalistic standing and questionable record.

Progressive Leaders

* "Matthews' history proves that when discussing prominent female figures, he is prone to overt sexism rather than civil political discourse." -- excerpt from a January 16 letter to Steve Capus, President of NBC News from Gloria Steinem, author/activist; Kim Gandy, President of NOW; Lulu Flores, President of The National Women's Political Caucus; Carol Jenkins, President of The Women's Media Center; and Eleanor Smeal, President of Feminist Majority

* "Let us not forget his on-air treatment of CNBC anchor Erin Burnett. Interrupting her news report, he said, 'Could you get a little closer to the camera? ... You're beautiful. … You're a knockout.' There it is, right in your own living room: sexual harassment brought to you by MSNBC." -- Ellen R. Malcolm President, EMILY's List, January 14, 2008


* "Since we are dealing with the first serious female candidate for president, his public neuroses made him the poster boy for the general misogynistic coverage of her candidacy…" -- Hullabaloo, January 11, 2008

* "[Matthews'] offensive behavior is a disgrace to NBC." -- Talk Left, January 8, 2008

* "Chris Matthews is insulting." – The Huffington Post, January 11, 2008

* "[Matthews] proved that he's really trying for a spot in the Misogynist Pundit Hall of Fame." -- Daily Kos, January 9, 2008

* "[Matthews' comment] is beyond the pale and our media relishes in it. Have you no decency?" -- Crooks and Liars, January 9, 2008

* "What is wrong with Chris Matthews? With all of these media people? […] None of it has anything to do with substance. It's as if a pack of hyenas were crossbred with the characters in Mean Girls and then sent out to play at journalism."

-- Firedoglake, January 9, 2008

* "Why is Matthews getting away with this?" -- Broadsides at, January 11, 2008

* "If inappropriate comments and inappropriate banter is the standard that NBC uses to determine whether an anchor should remain on the air, then NBC has some 'splaining to do' when it comes to one 62 -year- old Christopher John Matthews, host of the financially lucrative primetime program, 'HARDBALL.' Perhaps MSNBC needs to share what its definition of 'inappropriate is. ' "

-- Blogher, January 13, 2008

* "At a minimum, [Matthews is] kind of a sexist, annoying cheek-pincher. ... At a maximum, well, we think he might just need to be stopped from speaking extemporaneously about politicians because the stupidest crap pretty much flies out of his mouth." -- Wonkette, January 9, 2008

Members of the Media

* "I also want to say, you know, that I think the media helped Hillary Clinton indirectly. I mean, Chris Matthews, the clip you played last night about how she got elected not on her own merits, but because of his fooling around, as he put it, that was one of several things that he had said. He said she wanted to bury his campaign and what would she do with the body? That she wanted to strangle Obama in the crib. I mean, every woman I know saw the media coverage declaring her dead and said, "You know, I've been through that. I've experienced that kind of sexism." And I think that that was also a factor." -- Jane Hall, Fox News contributor, January 10, 2008

* "To recount the sexist double (and triple and quadruple) standards and misogynist insults to which Clinton has been subjected would take double (or triple or quadruple) the usual column space. Consider this an abbreviated account: Television commentator Chris Matthews suggested last month that prominent male politicians who endorsed Clinton are castratos in the eunuch chorus." -- Marie Cocco, "Sexism in Politics," Washington Post Writers Group, January 10, 2008

* "After telling a story about how Nixon once planned to make his voice crack during a speech to look more sympathetic, Matthews continued: 'I know Hillary Clinton was completely spontaneous the other day but let's bring in the panel on that point. It could be that big girls don't cry…but it could be that if they do they win.' " -- Liz Cox Barrett, "The Anti-Chris Matthews Vote," Columbia Journalism Review, January 9, 2008

* "I can't believe I'm saying this, but had I been a New Hampshire voter on Tuesday, I would have pulled a lever for the former first lady with a song in my heart and a bird flipped at MSNBC's Chris Matthews, a man whose interest in bringing Clinton down hovers on the pathological, and whose drooling excitement at the prospect of her humiliation began to pulse from the television last week before most Iowa precincts had even begun to report results. Before any tallies were in, Matthews was observing, based on early projections, that if Clinton received the expected 30 percent, it would mean that seven of 10 Iowa voters did not like her, a mean little metric that he did not apply to the other candidates. 'It's hard to call yourself the people's choice if two-thirds of the Democrats are voting against you!' he burbled." -- Rebecca Traister, "The witch ain't dead, and Chris Matthews is a ding-dong,", January 9, 2008

* "It's stunning to watch. The various spurts of venom aimed at Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are, at best, scattershot and convulsive, with only MSNBC's Chris Matthews proving himself to be a consistent blowhard jackass in his relentless slamming of Hillary by claiming that she made it this far only due to adultery-survivor sympathy. Hey, Chris, 2001 called. It wants its sexist analysis back. Thank you." -- Mark Morford, "A black or female president? It's the perfect liberal storm," The San Francisco Chronicle, January 16, 2008

* "I mean, I shouldn't admit to this, but I watch his show because I'm a political junkie, and I've been pretty appalled at the way he treats Hillary Clinton. I mean, it's very, very biased …" -- Kristen Powers, Fox News political analyst, January 11, 2008

* "But for Chris Matthews to say the following was just mind-blowing. You -- those women out here who called me a sexist last night, you listen to this and you tell me who the sexist is." -- John Gibson, Fox News Radio, January 10, 2008

* "I mean, I think that he's ascended to the level of kind of icon of the frustration that people have with the media, particularly the media's relationship with the Clintons." -- Christopher Hayes, Washington editor for The Nation, January 8, 2008

For More Media Coverage of Matthews Controversy, click here

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